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Full text of "Mathura A District Memoir"

IMPORTANCE OF MATHUBX IN BUDBHA*S UFKmfB.
»f the Tathagata.   At a hill to the north of this monastery is a cav
rock,  twenty feet high and thirty feet broad, where  had been colle
immense number of little bambu spikes, each only four inches long. When a
married couple, whom the venerable Upagupia had converted and instructed,
obtained the rank of Arhat, * he added a spike. But lie took no note of other per-
sons, even though they had attained the same degree of sanctity. Twenty«four
or 25 li to the south-east of this cave was a large dry tank with a stiipa by Its
side, where it was said that one day as Buddha was pacing up and down, he was
offered some honey by a monkey, which he graciously told him to mix with water
and divide among the monks. The raonkey was so charmed at the condescension
that he forgot where he was, and in his ecstasy fell over into the tank and was
drowned: as a reward for his meritorious conduct, when he next took birth, it
was in human form. A little to the north of this tank was a wood with several
stupas to mark the spots that had been hallowed By the presence of the four
earlier Buddhas, and where 1,250 famous teachers of the law, such as Sari*
putra and Mudgala-putra, had given themselves up to meditation. When the
TaiMgata (he adds)"-lived in the world, he often travelled in this kingdom, and
monuments have been erected in every place where h@ expounded the law,
The LaKta Vistara, which is the oldest and most authentic record that the
Buddhists possess, gives a most elaborate account of Sakya Muni's early
adventures, and of the six years of preliminary penance and seclusion that hd
spent in the woods of Uruvilva (now Buddh Craya) before he commenced
his public ministry; but the narrative terminates abruptly with his departure
for Banaras, which was the first place to which he betook himself after
he had attained to the fulness of perfect knowledge. There is no equally
trustworthy and consecutive record of the second and more important half of
his life—the 40 years which he spent in the promulgation of his new creed—and
it is therefor© impossible to say at what period he paid those frequent visits to
Mmthur4 of which Hwen Thsang speaks. There is, however, no reason, to
doubt that they were paid; for the place was one of much importance in his
time and, like every other new teacher, it was the great centres of population
that he laboured most to influence* In Beal's translation of the Chinese ver-
sion of the AbMnisiikraniana Sutra we find Mathura styled the capital of all
Jambu-dwipa, and on. that account it was one of the first suggested as a fit
place for Buddha to take birth in. He rejectee^it, however, on i&e ground that
ihe king by whta it was ruled, a powerful monarch, Sabalm by name, WES a
s As Arb^Isss&int who hssaUaiced tothefosarthgrads in tlie seal® of perfection.
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